Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Voting and ID

The Supreme Court has just upheld a law in Indiana allowing the state to insist on voters carrying identification --- in this country, almost always a drivers' license --- in order to prove that they are entitled to vote.
Of course, the law was painted as a measure to repel the hordes of people attempting to vote illegally --- and the opinions upholding the law sign off on that as the reason, in spite of the fact that there have been essentially no documented cases of abuse, and there are hundreds of thousands of people, perhaps millions across the country who might be entitled to vote but who fail to have the appropriate identification.

I have a little sympathy with the idea that in order to vote you should present some identification. It makes some sense, even if the evidence is not there that there are unwashed hordes attempting to pretend to be dead people still on the voter rolls.

But if we are going to do this, then society should take the responsibility for providing the means to obtain the identification documents --- for free, and easily --- and also for making sure that the documents are validated.

And when the right wing shrieks that we are moving to a society in which we are required to carry identification papers (and believe me, this shrieking will come!) let's remember that it was their side which decided to impose these rules in the first place.

For now, I think that Obama could do a lot worse that getting out in front on this issue, helping poor folks obtain valid (and validated) identification papers in Indiana: even paying for the cost of the ID card, if necessary....

Yours, encouraging those with the right to vote to make sure that they have the right to exercise that right,

1 comment:

~A~ said...

Identification Card For Voting Purposes - 6 Year FREE

Can I shriek now? :D